Savory & Healthy Birria Taco Recipe (so tasty)

Healthy Birria Taco Recipe

Birria, pronounced “BEER-eah,” is an authentic Mexican cuisine consisting of braised meat, traditionally goat, that is slow cooked until the beef is tender and fall-apart juicy and delicious. It is usually served in a corn tortilla that has been soaked in the stew sauce, then pan fried and filled with melted cheese, onion, and garnished with a lime.

After slow cooking the meat, you allow the layer of fatty liquid to accumulate on top, then dip the corn tortillas in the top layer, to allow for a nice coating before frying.

In my attempts to make a healthy birria taco recipe without sacrificing the authenticity of the dish, I opted not to soak and fry the corn tortillas; however, I did reserve the stew juice (not the top layer) to add to the tacos. I also opted to pickle the onions to really kick up the flavor profile and add some additional health benefits. And we all know the way to make anything healthier is by adding leafy greens, so I tossed some lettuce and cilantro in the mix.


Chef Notes: You could absolutely forego the tortillas and serve as a stand-alone meat dish, or serve with rice and/or beans. If you are opting to pan fry the corn tortillas, add these steps:

  • Dip each tortilla into the top layer of the sauce in the crockpot and pan fry on each side over medium to high heat.
  • Remove from heat and immediately add cheese and meat.
  • You can then add any additional toppings and/or garnish you desire.

The nutrition facts for this healthy birria taco recipe are for the meat and onions without the tortillas.

Birria Taco Recipes

Healthy Birria Tacos Recipe

Birria, pronounced “BEER-eah,” is an authentic Mexican cuisine consisting of braised meat, traditionally goat, that is slow-cooked until the beef is tender and fall-apart juicy and delicious.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: mexican, tacos
Servings: 12
Calories: 129kcal


  • slow cooker


Birria Taco

  • 2 lbs meat of your choice (preferably goat or cow)
  • 1 lb short rib
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 7 ancho chiles
  • 7 guajillo chiles
  • 3 chiles de arbol
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • 1 Mexican cinnamon stick
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • pickled onions (you can make your own below)
  • 3 ozs Oaxacan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cilantro for garnish
  • lime for garnish

Pickled Onions

  • 1 red onion
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Swerve sugar substitute
  • tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm water


  • Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of all meat(goat/cow and short ribs).
  • Add oil to pan and heat over medium-high heat. 
  • When the oil is hot, add the meat and do a quick/hard sear on both sides. This is simply to brown (dark brown) the meat but not cook it through to the center.
  • Remove meat from heat.
  • Add dried chiles, onion, garlic cloves, tomatoes, spices, and bay leaves to a pot on the stove top. 
  • Add water until it covers everything. 
  • Simmer for roughly 10 – 15 minutes before removing from heat.
  • Pour everything through a strainer and add to a blender or food processor.
  • Add apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of beef broth to blender. Blend everything until it reaches a smooth consistency.
  • Add meat and pepper mixture to a crockpot, along with remaining 2 cups of broth.
  • Cook in slow cooker for 3 hours on high/6 hours on low, until meat easily shreds.
  • Remove meat and shred.
  • Assemble tacos layering lettuce, cheese, meat, sauce, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. 

Pickled Onions

  • Slice the red onion as thin as you can. If you have a mandolin, great. If not, thinly sliced will work.
  • Stuff the onion slices into a jar (or bowl).
  • Combine apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar, and water.
  • Stir until all salt and sugar is dissolved.
  • Pour mixture over sliced onions, making sure they are immersed in the liquid.
  • Enjoy!


Chef Notes: You can use more or less peppers, depending on how much heat you want the dish to have. I opted to remove the seeds, but you could also leave them in to really give it a jolt. These peppers can be found in the International aisle of most supermarkets and at many farmers’ markets.
Chef Notes: As mentioned, traditionally this is made with goat meat; however, I used a chuck roast along with the short ribs, and it was TO-DIE-FOR.
Chef Notes: You could also soak the tortillas and fry them if you prefer—for my recipe, I opted not to, but I have had them both ways, and both are equally delicious.
Chef Notes: If you are unable to locate Oaxacan cheese, a good substitute would be mozzarella as both are mild, creamy white cheeses. 


Fiber: 1g | Calories: 129kcal | Fat: 3.5g | Protein: 18.5g | Carbohydrates: 5g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!